A new era of Michigan State hockey begins next week and with it will be some new faces behind the MSU bench.
New head coach Adam Nightingale will make his Spartan debut along with new hires associate head coach Jared DeMichiel and assistant coach Mike Towns.
Michigan State Athletics announced at the beginning of May that Adam Nightingale would replace Danton Cole to become the eighth head coach in program history. MSU hopes the new look, including the Munn Arena renovations, will give the program a boost after years at the bottom of the Big Ten.
Here's a dive into the two pillars Nightingale and his staff have emphasized in the lead-up to the season:
Culture & philosophy
Practices for Nightingale's inaugural season as MSU's head coach began at the end of August and returning players quickly noticed a shift from previous seasons.
“Everybody's buying into what he's preaching,” sophomore forward Jesse Tucker said. “I think it's gonna go a long way this season.”
With MSU's exhibition at the USNTDP a week from Saturday, captains and alternate captains have yet to be announced. Nightingale is familiar with what it means to be a Spartan having served as an alternate captain during his time at MSU from 2003 to 2005.
Instead, he stressed the importance of first defining Spartan culture going into this season.
“Our sole focus is getting better every day and also just establishing what it means to be a Spartan," Nightingale said.
Nightingale said the team has been trying to practice the way they want to play on the ice. In doing so, the team has been working on keeping their pace up so they can be a fast and exciting team as the season progresses.
“They [the coaches] care so much,” freshman forward Tiernan Shoudy said. “They're putting us to the gauntlet because they care and it's because they want us to get better and want us to be one of the top teams in the country.”
Recruiting trending upward
During his introductory press conference back in May, Nightingale stressed his focus on recruiting going forward.
“We’re going after the best players,” Nightingale said. “We’re not taking a back seat to anyone.”
When Nightingale was hired, he was praised for his player development skills and his recruiting connections to the USNTDP -- a pipeline Cole failed to establish. Michigan State has already received a handful of big commits since Nightingale made his way to East Lansing. One of the most notable recruits—USNTDP goalie Trey Augustine.
Augustine uncommitted from the University of Michigan on Sept. 6, opening back up his recruiting. Just hours later, the 2005 goalie announced his commitment to MSU.
Last season, Augustine started for the U17 NTDP team where he had a .899 save percentage before Nightingale called him up to the U18 team. With the U18s, the young goalie put up 2.34 GAA and a .911 save percentage.
Other notable players include 2024 commit Christian Humphreys, who scored five goals for the Team USA U17 team in his debut and graduate transfer Miroslav Mucha, who tallied 35 points in 37 games at Lake Superior State last season and could be a key piece to the team this season. Mucha is just a slice of the off-season transfer portal acquisitions that will potentially provide immediate success for the Spartans.
Following Michigan State's Oct. 1 exhibition, the Spartans begin the regular season with a home-and-home series versus Bowling Green Oct. 7-8.
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